Mediation vs Court Visitation

Lacye - posted on 12/23/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )




Need some advice on this. My husband and I are finally (FINALLY) getting the ball rolling towards him seeing his daughter from a previous relationship (we started the process 2 YEARS ago this coming January!). We were supposed to have court last Wednesday, but BM got a lawyer and the lawyer asked for a continuous. Yesterday, we got to see SD for the first time in 7 months (BM came up with excuses with why we couldn't come). I wasn't really supposed to go with him (BM lives 3 1/2 hours away and I'm 34 weeks pregnant, doctor's orders) but I did anyways because he didn't want to go down there without me. While there, BM kept making comments that we didn't have to take this to court, that we could just make the agreements between all of us (meaning she wanted to go to mediation); however, the last time hubby tried to do that, BM told us that we would have to take her to court if we wanted SD to visit us overnight without her present (yes, I would allow her in my home for a week at a time with SD so hubby could spend time with his child but that only happened twice).

Another problem we've been having with BM is SD's last name. SD has BM's last name because hubby was not able to make it to the hospital in order to sign the proper papers (no driver's license and once again, BM lives 3 1/2 hours away!). Hubby wants SD to have his last name and we aren't sure if we can have that done (hubby has already tried to get this done when he first started paying child support, gave BM the money to do it and she never did). Also, because BM never sent off the paperwork to the proper place when child support was set up, hubby's name is not even on the BC. It's been a huge mess!

So which would be better in our situation: mediation or going ahead and taking her to court? BM is trying her best to get us to not take her to court and is even now talking about us taking SD for a week after baby is born. We aren't sure if it's because she knows she's going to have to allow us to take the child after court or if it's because she just wants to be rid of the child (she has made comments that makes us think this is a possibility) or what but we know she is up to something. Thanks for the advice!


Jodi - posted on 12/23/2012




If you have had issues with mediation before, I would not cancel the court date. It sounds like she is playing you.

With regard to the last name, I think your hubby has to let it go. A man doesn't have the automatic right to have his child have his surname. Quite honestly, why does he have more right to the surname than the mother's? That one is a no win situation. I'd focus on getting a reasonable visitation order right now, and leave the name out of it.


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Lacye - posted on 12/23/2012




The last name thing is more of hubby's wants. For some reason, he feels a like BM is putting him out of SD's life by not giving her his last name.

I did tell him that we should go ahead and make sure everything is spelled out in the proper court papers, mostly because of the hard time we've been having. I just feel so bad for him sometimes though. He has always allowed BM to push him around when it came to SD and he just doesn't know what to do about it. Thanks for all of the advice ladies! :)

Ashley - posted on 12/23/2012




you should continue with court. she could be telling you these things just so you drop it and dont go to court, then she would still have all control and you wouldnt be able to do anything except hire another attorney, and start court proceedings all over again. take her to court and have your visitation in a court order so she has to follow it. if she doesnt, keep records of it and take her back to court again. if your husband is already proven to be the father, then he can go himself and have his name added to the birth certificate. as for changing her last name, it will take her signature as well as his. if she is not willing to do that, then it wont be changed. dont let her fool you into dropping court. good luck.

Dove - posted on 12/23/2012




I agree w/ Jodi on the name... and the mediation vs. court.

Typically speaking, mediation is better and cheaper since it's the two ex-partners working things out amicably instead of having a judge just 'lay down the law', but... your husband tried the mediation thing before. I think going through court is the best thing at this point. Especially considering how long things have been taking and the reactions of the BM so far.

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